• David Sanmi

A new Zulu King Emerges

Updated: May 16

Prince Misuzulu, the new Zulu King. Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Following the death of appointed regent of the Zulu kingdom in South Africa, the eldest son of the late monarch has been named the new king of the kingdom. This follows a scandal that had embroiled the royal family after the cause of death of the regent had not been made public.

Queen Mantfombi had apparently been named successor to the throne when the last will and testament of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu was read. The king, who had ascended the throne in 1968, died in March at the age of 72 from complications related to diabetes. One of his six wives replaced him. The queen however died unexpectedly at the age of 65, less than a month after ascending the throne, raising suspicions of being poisoned.

In her own will, Queen Mantfombi named Prince Misuzulu, her eldest son with the late king as her successor. The role of the king has no political authority, especially as the occupant of the position is said to reign and not rule. However, the position has a lot of influence and commands a yearly budget of almost $5 million from the government of South Africa.

The Zulus form the largest tribe in the country, with more than 11 million tribe members, out of the country’s 60 million population. Several members of the royal family immediately disputed the will of the late Queen when it was read, including two daughters of the late king, alleging the will was not authentic.

The late Queen Dlamini-Zulu. Courtesy of AFP

Other members were more direct with their criticism. Prince Thokozani Zulu pointed out that the late king’s will did not specify who the successor to the queen would be. The reading of the late queen’s will take place at the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace on Friday during a televised event, after a memorial service in her honor.

With his emergence as the king, Prince Misuzulu becomes the sole trustee of the large tracts of land owned by the Zulus, which expands more than 28,000 square miles. He would also probably take over King Zwelithini’s personal estate, valued by Forbes at $20 million.

In his own remarks, read by his younger sister, the prince asked for peace during his mother’s memorial service, “We have no doubt we will unite as a family. Let us emulate the king by being peaceful.”

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